Today there are many Lei Garden restaurants, over 20 branches and more than 2,200 people work for them, but the second opened, already in 1980 in Mong Kok is still the best despite the fact that it is not as lavish as others within the same group.
The Lei Garden Restaurant Group is nicknamed after the famous Chinese monastery where kung fu skills are taught – Shao Lin Shi. The successful restaurant chain is called so thanks to its Founder and Chairman Chan Shu Kit who has several similarities with the principal of the famous monastery with emphasis on the right mind set before even considering entering the kitchen or dining room. Four pitfalls (selfishness, stupidity, laziness and pettiness) and four virtues (determination, confidence, humility and perseverance) are practised amongst all employees and the company philosophy really shows during your meal in the dining room. The staff is grateful and humble and you as a patron are taken care of like a royalty.
Chan Shu Kit is the son of the Kuo Min Tang General Chan Ji Tang who governed the Guangdong and Guangxi provinces of the southern parts of China in the nineteenth thirties. Chan Shu Kit was surrounded by many of the best chefs in the country so he early adopted a great interest in fine dining. He was supposed to enter a military career just like his father, but his passion for gastronomy took over and in 1973 he founded his first restaurant in Hong Kong at Sham Shui Po. Today all his restaurants have grown into an international recognised company group with expansions into more casual bistros, a food factory and a farm as well. The cuisine was originally only Cantonese, but today you will find inspirations and touches from all over China and from other countries as well.
Head Chef of the Mong Kok branch is Chow Lap Yan and he does an excellent job in executing the most perfect culinary vision of the Lei Garden brand. He is faithful to the Cantonese Chinese cuisine, but is influenced by many other regions as well. You can choose your own alive seafood from the big aquariums in the restaurant, but be prepared for astronomic prices of the most exclusive choices so an alternative is to simply pick a bunch of dishes from the extensive menu. The poultry is produced at Lei Garden’s farm which permits full control of the quality of its ingredients. You will literally taste the difference between an ordinary chicken and the one you order in at Lei Garden, which is delicious. The baked salted chicken is a must when you make the order. Other savoury dishes are the crispy roasted pork, the deep-fried shredded turnip pastry and the braised three heads abalones sided with kanto spiky sea cucumber just to mention some of the many dishes available.
There are many great Lei Garden restaurants in Hong Kong alone, but the Mong Kok branch is impeccable. You will be satisfied at all the restaurants so it depends on what style you are looking for as well.
Written by Andy